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The Division of Laura Lee 

Das Not Compute (Burning Heart/Epitaph)

When Division of Laura Lee released Black City in 2002, its punky swagger often conjured the Hives but lacked the dynamic songwriting and strong identity of their well-dressed Swedish compatriots. Das Not Compute, DOLL's second full-length, erases City's shortcomings by focusing on dark grooves and ooky-spooky keyboards that are as sinister as they are irresistible. "Breathe Breathe" runs on the romantic heat generated by its gothic slow dance between the Beta Band and Jesus and Mary Chain, the garage whispers of "We Are Numbers" benefit from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club-level distortion, and "Does Compute" is an amped-up display of staccato synth chords and spazzy riffs.

Compute's guest stars are equally raucous: Cardigans sweetheart Nina Persson adds breathy brattiness to the throttling greaseball "Dirty Love," and Hellacopters guitarist Mattias Barjed adds textured layers to psychedelic rock noise nugget "To the Other Side." Still, DOLL's improvement comes from within -- even Compute's straightforward rockers are more energetic and original than any song on City. The disc breathes new life into the rapidly degenerating garage-rock renaissance.

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September 23, 2020

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